McHenry Downtown Theater

1204 N. Green Street,
McHenry, IL 60002

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McHenry Downtown Theater

The Empire Theatre was opened on June 28, 1919. It was renamed the Colony Theatre in 1939, it burned in 1952.

It was rebuilt to the plans of architect John van der Meulen, and opened in February 1955 with 680 seats. It was later twinned in the 1980’s and closed suddenly as a discount house managed by Rhyan Management (RMC) in January 2000. It reopened in 2003 as a discount first-run theater operated by “C” You at the Movies. It had closed by 2014. It reopened January 18, 2018 and a third screen has been added which will open in February 2018.

Contributed by Brian Wolf

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Broan on March 13, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Here are photos of this theatre.

dhowell on June 2, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Here is their official website. There is also a photo of the theatre on this page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 23, 2010 at 3:48 am

The entry for Chicago architect John van der Meulen in the 1962 American Architects Directory lists this 1955 theater among his works. Later in his career van der Meulen and his architectural partner Ralph Rapson became known for the American embassies they designed in various cities, including Stockholm, Copenhagen, and The Hague.

The McHenry Theater could still be a handsome Midcentury Modern building if they’d rip that shingled fake mansard and other accumulated bits of ticky-tacky off of it. It deserves better treatment than it’s had.

dallasmovietheaters on May 11, 2016 at 11:16 am

The Empire Theatre launched June 28, 1919 with “The Little Rowdy.” It closed for a month in January of 1929 to install a Vitaphone sound system re-opening Feb. 21, 1929 though sound films were still a month away.

aek316 on February 7, 2017 at 12:06 pm

I just read the downtown theater will be renovated and reopened hopefully in the fall. DC Cobbs restaurant will also be moving in next door!

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